* About the Group

What Our Group Is — How We Pick Members and How We Operate

Mostly Comedy is a professional Los Angeles-based screenwriters’ group that deals with mostly comedy scripts. We give each other notes on story, structure, and character. And jokes. We help each other punch up existing jokes, or replace them with funnier ones. (In a recent meeting, we pitched over 150 new jokes for one of our member’s already-funny scripts.) We do all this so our scripts will sell. Or so the scripts will make our bosses happy, if they were written on assignment.

We deal only with writers and scripts — we do not have actors reading pages out loud.  (Don’t get me wrong — cold reads can be fun and useful, but that’s not what we’re about.  Executives and agents won’t have actors reading your script out loud to them, so we concentrate on what’s on the page, not on enjoying actors perform it.)

We currently have 20 members. About 1/2 of us are professional writers, the rest range from “pretty new” to “experienced-but-haven’t-sold-anything-yet.” But even the new writers are good writers. And funny. And most work in the industry in some capacity.

Each meeting is usually attended by 10-12 writers because of scheduling, etc. You don’t have to make every meeting to be in the group, but if you only come when your material is being read, then we’re not the group for you.

How the Group Works

You can bring in material in the following form:

  • Complete scripts (first draft or hundredth draft)
  • Outlines / Beat sheets
  • A verbal pitch

We do not do partial scripts or just script pages.   We do:

  • Features
  • TV specs
  • TV originals
  • The occasional play
  • Short films
  • Web series

The scripts are emailed to everyone a week in advance of the meeting. You read the scripts in advance and make notes, based on what the writer wants. Notes on a first draft are very different than notes on a tenth draft.

During the meeting, we all give our notes. We also will do punchup and pitch jokes when needed. We often get into a freewheeling discussion about various aspects of the scripts. It’s like being in the writers’ room at a show, but with a moderator instead of a showrunner.  And, unlike some groups, the writer can answer questions and discuss the notes rather than sit mute.   Although, the more you talk, the fewer notes you’ll get 😉

We meet on Saturdays in Studio City at a private residence.  Usually from 12:00 noon to 3:00. I schedule up to 120 pages for each meeting. So we could do notes on a couple of half hour scripts, or just one feature length. Or a half hour and a one hour script — you get the idea.

Our group sees each other’s work in its rawest unpolished form. We trust each other to show scripts in a stage where we wouldn’t show our agents or producers. Notes are respectful, but not coddling.  You will get complete honesty. Better you hear it from us than from the producer or agent who’s going to reject your project. And because I chose each and every member carefully, there are no assholes, and no one with an agenda that doesn’t help you and your writing.

Please be aware — this is not a writers’ group that pats you on the head because you spit out some pages.   You probably already have a mother, so that job is taken.   We are very much geared towards getting and keeping paid writing jobs.

Yes, we’re all nice people and the meetings are a lot of fun with lots of jokes flying around. But we are here to make the writing so polished that it shines!

What We Don’t Do

We don’t give you deadlines. That’s up to you. When your script is ready, we are there for you and we’ll give you the notes you want.

We don’t charge money to be in the group. We meet in a space that costs nothing, so we incur no group expenses.

We don’t teach you how to write, other than the natural progression of getting better with notes and seeing how others fix their own scripts.  You must know how to write already, or be well on your way, or be a super talented rank beginner.  We don’t care if you have college degrees or are a high school dropout  — just write well and passionately, please.

We have no agenda other than punching up scripts.  There is no personality cult based on Blake Snyder or anyone else. We worship only good writing and comedy.  How you get there is your own journey, but you’re welcome to share any insights you may have gained.  We applaud the use of any book or tool that helps you.

Types of Scripts We Do Not Deal With:

  • Horror
  • Faith-based
  • Sketches

We do mostly comedy, with the occasional drama. Or any hybrid — action/comedy, drama/comedy, horror/comedy, etc. — with the word “comedy” in it.  (Except “faith” hybrids.  Good luck with that if you’re writing one.)

How The Members Were Selected

All the members were selected by me from over 1,000 applicants over the last 5 years. I read their material and I interviewed them personally before inviting them into the group. I did this because the last writers’ group I was in (which I had no control over) preferred to pick people with multiple screenwriting degrees who wrote scripts where everything happened at the exact right page, but it didn’t matter because their scripts had no soul, no heart. They had no delightful spark that is the driving force behind comedy.  We’d all much rather read something honest or crazy or funny and heartfelt than something written by-the-numbers.

Consequently, that old group eventually filled up with writers whose material was painful to read because they were too lazy to write better and to dig deeper and find the heart. Or the funny. I formed this group with people who do care enough.

Writing is hard. Writing well is super hard. I would selfishly like to be around writers who are talented and care about writing enough to go the extra mile. And whose material reflects that hard work. Because it’s satisfying to read their work, and they give better notes — so everyone’s work gets better.

Because right now, in your zip code, there are a thousand other people working on screenplays. I formed Mostly Comedy so we can all hang out with the few people out of a thousand who are good writers and have the right personality to give and receive notes.

And who can make each other laugh.

Yes, there are some comedians in the group, and writers with extroverted personalities who talk loud and pitch big. But there are also many quiet bookish librarian types. You don’t need to shoot your jokes out of a cannon to fit into the group!  Although, I’ve noticed that the bookish types have become more outgoing in meetings, which is nice because their voice should be heard.

You just need to be a funny writer who cares enough to write well, and to give notes to others.

If this sounds good to you, please look at the Join the Group page to contact me.

Happy writing,

David Willis

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